Ham and Cheese Sliders

We always end up with leftover ham after Easter. I think it’s mostly because my Mom, my Grandma and I always end up qualifying for the free holiday ham at the grocery store – and then make it a challenge to see who can get the biggest one for free. Of course, the hams are always bigger than we need – and we’ll only make one of the three for Easter.

So, there will be a lot of ham in this family in the next few weeks. This is a great way to use some of it up.

These are generally through of as more of an appetizer or party food, but paired with a salad they’re a quick, easy dinner.


Ham and Cheese Sliders
(from Annie’s Eats)
Makes 24

24 slider rolls
24 slices deli ham or leftover ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese
1 1/2 T. yellow mustard
1 stick of butter, melted
2 t. dried minced onion
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Split slider rolls and spread them with mayonnaise. Top with ham and cheese and cover. Place them on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, melted butter, onion and Worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce evenly over the tops of the sliders. Sprinkle sliders with poppy seeds.

Cover the sandwiches with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake 2 minutes longer. Serve warm.


Happy Recipe Swap day! I missed the last swap because we were travelling, so I was happy to jump back in to the latest round of Blogger’s Choice. For this round, I was assigned Brianna’s blog – Oishii Food. Oishii means “delicious” in Japanese and the blog was started when she spent some time in Japan. While there are plenty of recipes from other cultures too, I thought it was appropriate to pick a Japanese one.

Gyoza are pretty much the Japanese version of potstickers. And, since I have such a soft spot of potstickers, I knew I’d love these. As daunting as they look, they’re relatively easy to put together and absoltely delicious. I’m still working on getting the perfect fold down, but if you want to see some really beautiful Gyoza, click on over to Brianna’s blog!


(very slightly adapted from Oishii Food)
Makes at least 4 dozen

For the Gyoza:

3 c. cole slaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1 T. coarse salt
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. white wine
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. cornstarch
1 package wonton wrappers (10-12 oz.)
1/4 c. vegetable oil

For the Dipping Sauce:

4 T. Soy sauce
4 T. Rice vinegar
1 t. Sesame oil
1 T. Agave nectar
1 t. Chili-garlic sauce
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with the green onions and salt. Let stand 10 minutes and then rinse and drain in a collandar. A handful at a time, sqeeze as much liquid out of the cabbage as you can and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the pork, pepper, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, white wine and sesame oil to the large bowl. Mix thoroughly with cabbage mixture.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with two tablespoons water. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. On the center of each wonton wrapper, place 1-2 teaspoons of pork and cabbage filling. Dip your finger in the water-cornstarch mixture and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Take one corner and fold it over to the opposite corner to make a triangle – seal the edges by pinching together.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, but not sizzling. Place enough gyoza in the skillet to cover the bottom, but don’t stack them. Cook until they’re browned where touching the pan. Add 2/3 cup of water to the skillet and cover tightly. Let steam for 5 minutes, adding more water if it evaporates before 5 minutes are up. Cook until the water is evaporated and they’re nicely browned on the pottom. Remove from pan and repeat until all gyoza are cooked.

To make the dipping sauce, whisk together all dipping sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust as needed.

Want to see what else was made for the Blogger’s Choice swap? You can see what all the participants cooked up below:
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Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Last fall, I made an awesome pork and apple hot pot. It was a bit of prep, and then cooked for quite a while. So good, but it took way to long to make on a weeknight. I’ve tried a few faster pork and apple dishes since then, but they’ve always fallen short.

Until this one. This dish balances the pork and apples well – and even though it’s called “caramel apple”, the apples aren’t overly sweet. I also loved the addition of the nuts.

We’re planning to go apple picking this weekend, so I’m sure this dish will be making a repeat appearance with orchard-fresh apples!


Caramel Apple Pork Chops
(from All Recipes)
Serves 2

2 thick-cut pork chops
1/2 t. vegetable oil
1 T. brown sugar
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 T. unsalted butter
1 granny smith apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 T. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to warm and place an empty baking dish in the oven.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pork chops with oil and add to the hot pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning halfway, or until cooked through. Transfer to the baking dish in the oven to keep warm.

Combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Melt butter in the skillet and then stir in the brown sugar mixture until well combined. Stir in the apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender.

Using a slotted spoon, move the apples to the baking dish in the oven to keep warm. Continue cooking the sauce, uncovered, until thickened.

When ready to plate, top the pork chops with the cooked apples, sauce and sprinkle with pecans.

Roasted Poblanos Stuffed with Pulled Pork

I love repurposing leftovers.  I’m not a fan of eating the same meal two nights in a row – but change it up and I’m a happy camper.  When I made pulled pork a few weeks ago, I really had this dish in mind. That was take one, this dish was take two. With a few extra additions, it’s like a whole new meal.

This wasn’t a meal I made with the intention to blog – hence the sub-par picture. It was too good not to share. These are awesome.


Roasted Poblanos Stuffed with Pulled Pork
(adapted from I Breathe… I’m Hungry)
Serves 4

4 poblano peppers
1/4 c. frozen corn
2 T. chopped red onion
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Wash poblanos and place on a baking sheet. Broil, turning until blackened on all sides. Remove from the oven and let cool until they can be handled. Remove the stem, seeds and skin. and cut them lengthwise so they lay flat.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In a both, mix together pulled pork, enchilada sauce, red onion, corn and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Divide mixture between peppers and fold the peppers around the mixture. (You can use a toothpick to keep them together – I just placed them close enough together in a baking dish to keep them from unrolling.)
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and place peppers inside. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Char Siu Pork

If you haven’t had char siu pork before, it’s essentially Chinese barbecue. It’s really good and the perfect in-between-seasons meal. And the smell! If computers had scent-o-vision, you’d all be running to your kitchens to make this right now. I guarantee it.
The marinade is set up the night before, so come dinner time you’ll just need to bake this and slice it up. It really couldn’t get easier! We served this alongside brown rice and vegetables.
Char Siu Pork
(from The Crepes of Wrath)
Serves 2
1 lb. boneless pork loin
3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
3 T. oyster sauce
1 T. white wine vinegar
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 t. Chinese 5 spice powder
1/2 t. salt
Pinch of ground ginger
Honey for basting
Whisk together all ingredients except pork and honey. Place pork in a large Ziploc bag and add marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pork in a greased pan (I used a Pyrex baking dish) and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes then flip the pork and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and turn the oven to broil for 5-8 minutes – until the skin is crispy and shiny. Take the pork out, baste it with juices from the pan and then brush liberally with honey. Slice it up and you’re good to go!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is such a classic slow cooker recipe. I’ve shared our go-to recipe, Crystal’s Pulled Pork, and two fun variations, Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork and Asian Style Pulled Pork. I’d never made a simple pulled pork with a classic, homemade sauce, though – something I needed to remedy during football season.

This was pretty much perfect for a lazy football Sunday. Chopping the onion was the most strenuous part of the prep and it was ready to start cooking in no time. I shredded it up during halftime and we had a nice meal with minimal time away from the game.


Crockpot Pulled Pork
(from What’s Gabby Cooking)
Serves 8

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. ketchup
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. tomato paste
2 T. paprika
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. salt
1 1/4 t. black pepper
2.5 lbs. pork butt, cut into 2 pieces
Rolls for serving

Combine all ingredients except pork and rolls in the slow cooker and mix to combine. Add the pork and cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, remove pork to a cutting board and shred. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and mix with sauce.

Serve pork on rolls.

Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork

This pulled pork was more time-consuming than the recipes I usually use, simply because it involved making your own barbecue sauce. The balsamic honey barbecue sauce is different from anything I’d normally pick up at the store and I had all the ingredients in the pantry so I figured what was there to lose?

I actually expected my husband not to like this – he’s not usually a fan of sweeter sauces, and this definitely is one – but he loved it too. I don’t think this will replace our typical pulled pork, but it’s a great option for when we’re looking to switch things up.

Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork
(from Better Homes and Gardens)
Serves 6-8

2 1/2 – 3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1 (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
1 c. balsamic vinegar
3/4 c. ketchup
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. salt
Burger buns, for serving

 Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. In the cooker, combine onion and sweet pepper. Add meat; sprinkle with thyme and rosemary. Pour broth over meat.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Meanwhile, for barbecue sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Transfer meat to a cutting board. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds, discarding fat. Strain vegetable mixture, discarding liquid. Return shredded meat and strained vegetables to cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce. If using high-heat setting, turn to low-heat setting, cover and cook for 1 hour.

Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa with Mustard Vinaigrette

Marriage is about compromise. I indulge my Italian husband by regularly including pasta on our menu plan. He lets me make the kielbasa my German self loves – as long as I don’t make him eat sauerkraut. It works for us.

We’ve grilled up pierogies and kielbasa for dinner before, but I’d never topped them with anything. Mostly because I struggle with what to pair it with other than sauerkraut. This vinaigrette was such a simple addition and packed a really big flavor punch. And, it made both Mark and me happy!

Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa with Mustard Vinaigrette
(slightly adapted from How To: Simplify)
Serves 2-3

1 lb. kielbasa
2 T. spicy brown mustard
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 lb. frozen potato and cheddar pierogies (do not thaw)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium.

Grill kielbasa for 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard and apple cider vinegar. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil while whisking until combined. Set aside.

Combine the remainder of the extra virgin olive oil, onion, and pierogies in a large bowl and toss to coat. Flip the kielbasa and add the onion and pierogies, covered, to the grill until the pierogies thaw (about 5 minutes). Turn the pierogies and onion and grill, covered, until everything is cooked through (about 4 minutes). Transfer the pierogies to the bowl. Separate the onion roughly chop. Coin slice the kielbasa. Add both to the bowl containing the kielbasa and pierogies.

Pour the mustard vinaigrette in the bowl and toss to coat the kielbasa, pieorgies, and onion. Season with salt and pepper.

Onion-Dijon Pork Chops

I’m very lucky to have a husband that’s happy to help in the kitchen. I tend to forget how helpful he is, though. I usually do all of the meal planning and cooking – but when I have an off day, Mark is always happy to cook up whatever recipe I’d picked out. This was one of those meals.

I often find pork chops to be a little boring, but these were really good. We both agreed this recipe goes in the make-again file.

Onion-Dijon Pork Chops
(from Heathly Cooking Dec-Jan 2012)
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops (approx. 5 oz. each)
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/3 c. thinly sliced red onion
1 oz. water
1 oz. cider vinegar
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1 T. honey dijon mustard

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook pork over medium heat for 4-6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove and keep warm.

Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, stirring to loosen the browned bits from the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Return chops to pan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160F degrees.

Pork Potstickers

I’m on a huge Chinese food kick. It’s my first choice for takeout and I’d make excuses to get it a few times a week if my husband didn’t keep me in check. One of my current favorites are the pork potstickers from the Chinese food bar at Wegmans.

Stir-frys are in the regular dinner rotation around here, and I’ve made egg rolls a few times. Potstickers are new, though. I found them to be a lot easier than egg rolls (and they’re better for you, too, since they’re not deep fried). I loved these. They didn’t taste exactly like my favorite Wegmans was, but they were really close.

I made these as dinner last Sunday and they were an awesome dish to enjoy while watching football. They’d also be a really fun appetizer for a party.

Pork Potstickers
(from The Family Kitchen)
Makes about 3 dozen

1 lb. lean ground pork
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 T. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. sugar
1 t. sesame oil

1 package wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen
canola oil
chicken or veggie stock, or water

Combine the pork, green onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and sesame oil and mix it all up with your hands.

To fill wontons, place a small spoonful of filling in the middle of each wrapper; moisten the edges with water (just use your finger) and fold over, pressing the edge tightly to seal. Place seam side up on a cookie sheet, pressing lightly to flatten the bottom. Cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out. (Dumplings can be prepared up to this point, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen.)

When you’re ready to cook the potstickers, heat a drizzle of canola oil in a largeish skillet set over medium-high heat. Place half the dumplings at a time in the skillet and cook for a minute or two, until deep golden brown on the bottom, shaking the pan a few times to keep them from sticking. Don’t crowd the pan too much.

Pour about 1/4 cup stock or water into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes – this will allow them to steam, cooking them through.